Los Angeles-based Studio UNLTD introduces Saizon restaurant, a design project encompassing the interiors, facade, and patio of a 5,300 square foot restaurant with 805 square feet of outdoor space in a freestanding building that is part of a new mixed-use development in Fresno, California. In the design for Saizon, Studio UNLTD explored the tension between the opposing qualities of permanence, represented by architectural structure and fluidity, the latter symbolized by the perpetual ebb and flow of the ocean.
Heavily plastered columns and beams, reminiscent of decaying concrete pier supports, add a dramatic gridded framework to the room, while board-formed concrete wall tiles provide texture and depth. Contrasting with the steadfastness of the “concrete” structure is a delightfully diverse array of materials and shapes strategically employed to create different rhythms in the room, from the heightened energy at the bar and open kitchen, to the alluring respite of the private dining room.
To dramatic effect, collaborations with artisans bring a sense of nostalgia and patina to finishes throughout the space. Upon entry, the eye is drawn to the striking color and energetic brushwork of a mural that derives inspiration from the geometries of the space and the forces of nature at play. On the soffit that is wrapped above the bar and pass counter, a custom-painted finish evokes the rusted metal found on the underside of an old fishing boat. Underfoot lies a stunning painted floor that emulates waves crashing on a sandy beach, flowing from the bar through the lounge and ultimately receding into the private dining room.
The private dining room is defined by two walls seemingly built of rustic onyx-colored “blocks”, replete with carved geometric patterns loosely inspired from ancient Mexican ruins. A double-sided fireplace embedded in this wall brings a warm glow to the intimate space and adjacent main dining room.
A palette that is grounded in the earthy, natural colours of warm leathers, dark-stained oak, and various shades of black is disrupted by moments of vibrant ocean blues and copper highlights. Architectural lighting that spotlights the tables is layered with accent lighting that calls attention to the columns and beams, artwork, and custom wall treatments. Custom armed pendants mounted along the spine of the double-sided banquette feature textured ceramic shades and leather strapping. Geometric shapes appear playfully throughout, taking the form of inlaid copper shapes on the tabletops and banquette profiles of the largely custom furniture.